Special Academic Opportunities
Dual Bachelor's/Master's Degree Programs
The four-year bachelor's/master's program is designed to enable exceptional or gifted undergraduates to earn two degrees simultaneously during their period of study at Brandeis. If a student has not completed the requirements for the master's portion of the program at the end of the fourth year, then only the bachelor's degree is awarded.
Participating programs are biochemistry, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and neuroscience.
Requirements for the bachelor's degree, defined by the School of Arts and Sciences, remain unaffected by participation in the program. Students will be eligible for the simultaneous award of the bachelor's and master's degrees if, while completing undergraduate requirements, they can:
- Fulfill a minimum of three years' residence on campus.
- Submit a master's thesis in departments requiring one. (Whether such a thesis may also be considered for undergraduate departmental honors may differ among programs, and will be addressed specifically in the program requirements.)
- Complete a total of 38 courses (152 semester-hour course credits), a minimum of 30 credits must be at the graduate level and applicable to the master's program. (Students should consult the departmental listing in this Bulletin for the specific requirements for the chosen program.)
- Complete all other departmental and university requirements that apply to earning a master's degree in the chosen department. Specifically, undergraduates should be aware that "B-" is the minimal grade that yields progress toward a graduate degree.
An undergraduate student may be admitted to a four-year B/M program upon recommendation by a faculty research sponsor. In addition the student must meet with and receive approval from the B/M Advising Head. It is recommended that this meeting take place no later than February 1 of the student’s junior year.
Interested transfer students are advised to consult with their advisors when they first enter Brandeis in order to plan their course of study.
Seniors participating in the four-year B/M program are not eligible for senior reduced-rate status.
Biotechnology, Comparative Humanities, Computational Linguistics, Computer Science, Education (BA/MAT), Global Studies, the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, the International Business School, and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies offer programs in which the bachelor's degree is conferred at the end of the fourth year, and the requirements for a master's degree are satisfied with one additional year of study at the graduate level. Consult the departments/programs for details.
Independent Interdisciplinary Major
An independent interdisciplinary major (IIM) offers students with interdisciplinary academic interests the opportunity to pursue a self-designed course of study with the support of appropriate Brandeis faculty members and the approval of a faculty committee. Independent interdisciplinary major proposals include courses in at least two, and preferably more, departments at the university and form an integrated program focusing on some issue, theme or subject area not available within the context of existing departmental majors.
An independent interdisciplinary major must be declared before the end of the student's junior year. The faculty committee the student assembles for the IIM normally consists of three Brandeis faculty members, the chair of which must be from the faculty of arts and sciences.
Examples of recent IIMs include Communication and Media Studies, Urban Studies and Peacebuilding.
Additional information and guidance in designing an IIM major may be obtained in the Office of Academic Services.
In addition to a major, students have the opportunity to select a minor. A minor consists of a coherent group of courses defined by a department or an interdepartmental program. Minors are either a limited version of a major, a more specialized subset of a particular field of study or a structured opportunity to explore areas of study that are interdisciplinary in scope.
Completion of the requirements of a minor is noted on a student's transcript. Students must declare their participation in minors and are limited to a maximum of three. The specific requirements of the minors may be found with the departmental or interdepartmental listings in this publication.
All minors must be declared before the start of a student's final semester at Brandeis.See the list of minors offered
Credit for Internship
Internships allow students to apply the liberal arts skills of research, writing and analysis in work-world situations, thereby enhancing the development of these skills. A credit-bearing internship has a significant faculty-guided academic component, which provides a valuable learning experience for the undergraduate and makes a meaningful contribution to the student's program of study. It should require use of research, writing and/or analytical skills and include a specific project to be accomplished in the designated time period.
Brandeis awards academic credit for the completion of an internship in conjunction with a faculty-led internship course. Brandeis offers three different forms of credit-bearing internship courses, however, course offerings vary by academic program and semester. Internship Seminars, which include weekly meetings as a class, are offered by departments/programs under the course number 89, and generate either two or four credits. Independent Internship & Analysis courses, which are individually arranged by a single student and instructor, are offered under the course number 92. Research-based internship courses, which are individually arranged by a single student and instructor around a research project, are offered with the course number 93 and the course title Research Internship.
All internship courses are subject to the normal enrollment deadlines; specific directions for registering can be found on the Schedule of Classes each semester. Participation is normally limited to juniors and seniors. International students wishing to complete internships must enroll in an internship course, meet visa requirements and obtain approval from the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) for all internships. A student may not receive more than a total of 16 credits from internship courses during their undergraduate career. Normally a student may not receive more than 4 credits through a 92-numbered internship course in a semester or term. Also, a student may not use one internship experience in multiple internship courses. Petitions for exceptions are reviewed by the Executive Committee of the Committee on Academic Standing (such petitions are initiated through an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Services). Students interested in pursuing an internship while on study abroad should contact the Office of Study Abroad for further information on procedures and requirements specific to such opportunities.
Expected Components of Academic Year Internships
Students should work the equivalent of at least 8 and no more than 15 hours per week for at least 10 weeks of a 13-week semester, totaling a minimum of 100 hours. Examples of academic assignments include submission of an annotated bibliography of readings relevant to the work site, several short papers (or one long paper), a journal or log of experiences and papers completed for the internship.
Faculty sponsors meet with interns at least once every two weeks to discuss learning objectives, research methodologies, the bibliography or other assignments, work-site experiences and so on. Faculty sponsors and site supervisors should communicate at the beginning, midterm and end of the semester. The academic work related to the internship should contribute a significant portion of the final grade, but work performed at the internship may also be included in the grading process. The grade for the internship course is determined solely by the faculty member.
Expected Components of Summer Internships
Credit for a summer internship may be earned during the following fall semester if the internship and appropriate academic work are successfully completed. The Rabb Summer School also offers internship courses for credit, including the online one-credit INT 92g course. Students should observe the guidelines established for academic year internships with the following adjustments.
Arrangements with the faculty sponsor should be completed prior to the student's leaving Brandeis at the end of the spring term or before the internship begins. Students must complete pre-internship paperwork including the signature/approval of the faculty supervisor. Usually, a summer journal will be required of the students. Students should work the equivalent of at least five weeks and at least 100 hours during the summer internship. Fall internship course faculty sponsors should meet with students at least six times during the fall semester to supervise readings and written assignments related to the internship. Although work performed at the internship site may be included in the grading process, the internship grade is determined solely by the faculty member.
For more information on academic internships, visit the Hiatt Career Center website.
Experiential Learning and Teaching
Experiential Learning and Teaching at Brandeis was developed to expand on the Brandeis mission, preparing students to fully participate in a changing society. Experiential Learning and Teaching engages students in active learning both in and out of the classroom.
Experiential Learning and Teaching helps students to:
- broaden, deepen and enrich their relationship to the content,
- actively apply and connect their learning to their life experience,
- understand their motivations and values,
- navigate future curricular and co-curricular experiences,
- develop resilience and other life skills,
- critically reflect on experiential learning through cultivating pre-professional skills, exploring career and life purpose, and fostering self-efficacy.
Experiential Learning and Teaching offers opportunities for students to engage with experiential learning courses that include elements of experiential learning pedagogy, practicum and community engaged learning courses that provide the option to engage with the local community through academic coursework, internship courses, workshops and training. For additional details about experiential learning at Brandeis and course listings, visit the website.
Undergraduate Peer Assistantships for Credit
Peer Assistantships yield many benefits to undergraduate teachers and learners. The university has established uniform standards for the utilization of undergraduate peer assistants and for the awarding of academic credit for such activities. Opportunities to serve as peer assistants are by invitation and generally limited to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement.
Undergraduates serving in this capacity may be compensated for their services or receive one, and only one, semester course credit for their assistance during their Brandeis career. Credit-bearing peer assistantships are enrolled under the course number PEER 94a and are subject to the normal enrollment procedures and deadlines. Peer assistant courses are offered exclusively on a credit/no-credit grading basis and are not factored into the student's GPA. Concurrent enrollment in the course the student is a peer assistant for is not allowed.
Columbia University School of Engineering Combined Degree Program
Brandeis University and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science of Columbia University have established a dual degree program whereby students complete three years of course work at Brandeis, then spend two years at Columbia University to complete the requirements for an engineering degree. Students admitted to the program and completing it successfully would be awarded a BA from Brandeis University and a BS in engineering from Columbia University.
Interested students should consult the program in Academic Services as soon as possible in order to plan their curriculum to meet Columbia prerequisites. Interested candidates must apply to the program in the spring semester of their final year at Brandeis for admission to Columbia University in the subsequent fall semester. In order to qualify for the guaranteed admission by the end of the last semester at Brandeis the students need to complete: (1) all general Brandeis University requirements for the graduation, (2) chose any major offered at Brandeis and complete all the requirements associated with that major and (3) chose an engineering discipline that will be pursued at Columbia and complete all the foundation and major-specific courses associated with this discipline. Students entering Brandeis in/after fall 2011 are required t to maintain a 3.3 overall GPA and earn a B (3.0) or higher in each prerequisite course (foundational and major-specific).
For additional information the students should refer to the Curriculum Guide with Brandeis equivalent courses that need to be taken at Brandeis to qualify for the guaranteed admission. Contact Elizabeth Rotolo, Assistant Director of Academic Fellowships in Academic Services.
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering Certificate in Engineering
Olin College offers a five-course Certificate in Engineering for students at Brandeis as part of a special collaboration. This certificate is not equivalent to an engineering degree, but represents a substantial investment in engineering courses that could help students pursue a wider field of postgraduate opportunities in industry or graduate school. The courses of study are designed to provide the student with a fundamental understanding of an engineering field, and typically consist of courses ranging from introductory engineering courses to advanced courses.
One of the five courses may be an approved Brandeis course with the remaining four taken through cross-registration at Olin. There are six programs of study: engineering design, materials engineering, bioengineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering systems.
For further details and to explore academic options, please consult with the Office of Academic Services. For direct consultation at Olin, contact the Certificate Program Coordinator, Professor Jean Huang, jean.Huang@olin.edu or 781-292-2584.
Brandeis Summer School
The Brandeis Summer School offers students a diverse selection of undergraduate courses in two five-week sessions. Special summer programs on campus and abroad provide students with further opportunities for in-depth study.
The student has the opportunity to enroll in courses to meet university degree requirements, accelerate individual programs of study, work toward a double major or take enrichment courses. The average summer program course has a small student enrollment, generating a rigorous but informal atmosphere for teacher-student interaction.
Of particular interest to students are the strong summer program offerings in the area of premedical education, intensive language study, computer science courses, the wide variety of liberal arts selections and special programs in which academic work complements practical work experience.
For those first year who would benefit from making the transition to college-level study and the Brandeis campus more slowly and midyear students interested in taking chemistry, the Summer School offers an opportunity to focus on a single course. Courses of special interest such as University Writing Seminar, Composition and General Chemistry I are offered in the second half of the summer specifically for incoming students.
A student may earn credit toward the Brandeis degree for no more than three semester courses in one summer, no matter where the courses are taken. For degree-seeking students, Brandeis summer school courses factor into the overall GPA and appear on the transcript.
For full information, contact Rabb School of Continuing Studies or the Summer School at 781-736-3424.
Preparation for Professional Training
The School of Arts and Sciences does not design courses of study with specific vocational goals in mind. In pursuing a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences, students develop a firm foundation for subsequent professional education.
Architectural schools have diverse standards and requirements. While it is not necessary to major in Fine Arts, the minor in Architectural Studies offered at Brandeis is recommended in preparation for graduate architectural programs. Our program includes courses in design, architectural history, and studio art. Please see the program requirements.
If feasible several kinds of non-Fine Arts courses would also be beneficial, such as basic calculus and physics; principles of urban studies; and other urban studies courses. Finally, students are encouraged to seek summer employment in architectural offices.
Admission requirements for graduate schools of business typically include one or more years of full-time work experience in addition to rigorous academic training. Students seeking to go to business school after Brandeis should therefore take courses that prepare them for entry-level positions in business and related organizations. They should also follow a course of study that develops their skills in logical reasoning, critical reading, effective writing, quantitative analysis, library research and oral expression.
Graduate schools of business usually do not prescribe a specific undergraduate major; although many successful applicants to business school are social science majors, majors in natural sciences and humanities are also common. So the best advice is to take advantage of the liberal arts education that Brandeis offers by following a course of study that is interesting and challenging while simultaneously providing exposure to business issues. One common route is to pursue a major in a traditional field along with a major in business, which provides training in a wide range of business disciplines as well as exposure to research faculty and practitioners who are leaders in their fields. Alternatively, students may choose the business minor, which provides an introduction to economics, accounting, and the basic functions of business.
Both the major and the minor in business are offered by the School of Arts and Sciences and the International Business School. See further discussion under the interdepartmental program in business in this Bulletin.
Most law schools advise undergraduates to concentrate in what interests them as the later specific legal training will build on the advantages of a sound liberal arts education.
Although there is no prescribed program of study for prospective law school applicants, many concentrate in such social sciences as politics, economics, history and American studies. Because law schools tend to look for evidence of a rigorous schedule of courses and high verbal competence, a background in logic, the natural sciences and English is desirable. Although courses from the Legal Studies Program might familiarize the prospective law student with law school material, it is not necessary that such courses be taken as preparation for professional training.
Prospective applicants to law school should consult the Hiatt Career Center for law school catalogs and Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) registration materials. Also available in that office is the Brandeis Prelaw Handbook, which includes a survey of the experiences of recent Brandeis alumni in seeking admission to law school, as well as a more detailed description of law school application procedures. Several members of the faculty serve informally as advisors to prospective law school applicants. Students requesting a dean's certification should contact the Office of Academic Services.
The Pre-Health Track
Students interested in pursuing a career in the health professions can choose any major provided they also complete the prerequisite courses required for admission. Pre-Health Advising offers one-on-one advising on course planning, co-curricular preparation, and applications, as well as a variety of workshops held throughout the year. For a list of courses and other information, visit the Pre-Health Advising website.
The university offers a program that fulfills Massachusetts requirements for teacher licensure and at least partially fulfills those of other states as well. Students interested in preparing for careers as teachers in preschool, primary or secondary schools should inform themselves of certification requirements in the state where they plan to work and should consult the director of the education program.